Wednesday, November 03, 2010

They Carry Their Own Water by Nancy Milakovic McGann

The author, Nancy Milakovic McGann, reveals her experience in Ecuador, a country in South America that borders Peru and Colombia. In particular, she writes about her one-hundred-mile journey to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. What was supposed to be a smooth two-hour car ride turned into hours of hitchhiking and walking; the people of Ecuador have placed multiple roadblocks throughout the main highway, preventing any vehicles from passing through, protesting the country’s free trade talks with the United States. As a result, Nancy and her friend must travel through the Ecuadorian countryside on foot, receiving rides between roadblocks from strangers. The book is told through a narrative and a series of full-page photos.

I have to say that this story definitely captivated me. Before reading this book, I did not have much of an idea of life in Ecuador, let alone the issues facing the country. Through this book, the author is able to give us a glimpse into the country’s daily routine, while informing us of an important national issue. The author tells the story in an informal fashion, letting the readers know exactly what she is thinking. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the vivid pictures, which gave me the opportunity to experience this journey through the author’s eyes. I can see exactly what is happening, and this is not something that an average book can claim. That being said, I believe that the book could be improved by giving a more detailed background regarding the issue of free trade. Throughout the whole story, I wondered why the people of Ecuador are blocking their own highway as a sign of protest. Although I later found out the reason to be the US free trade talks, I am still unsure of whom the road blockade is addressed towards, and was left with many unanswered questions. Throughout the whole book, I saw the story from only one viewpoint: the author’s. The story would be much more complete had the author interviewed some of the local people to give us an idea of some of the prevailing opinions in the region. Although this book describes a genuine experience in a remote country, it does not provoke any deep thoughts or answer some fundamental questions. I feel that if a deeper issue is addressed, then this book would be a much more interesting read.

Content: 1
Rating: 6
Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Palo Alto, CA USA